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AIBU?

To tell you about a nice idea that’s easy to do? (Food bank related)

102 replies

autumnnightsaredrawingin · 22/11/2019 21:59

For those of you who donate to food banks. I was talking to someone today who said that if anyone is donating now, a really lovely thing to do is to include a couple of chocolate advent calendars.

It means they can include them in boxes for families with young children who would otherwise have no calendar. I realise they’re not too environmentally friendly with the plastic, but I think the idea of giving some kids who have a pretty tough time a little bit of happiness is a good thing.

So, not really an AIBU but something to consider if you are about to donate to a food bank. Similarly, a nice tin of Christmas biscuits or chocolates will also be welcome.

OP posts:
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TheOrigFV45 · 22/11/2019 22:59

Dragongirl10 Surely money is better spent on proper food?

Well of course, if you look at the broad picture, yes that would be most effective, but it's more complicated than that.

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dontgobaconmyheart · 22/11/2019 23:03

I agree with checking what they specifically are in legitimate need of. After all even with the best intentions, what we might think it is nice to have as an extra at christmas or what we like the idea of giving because it's vaguely sentimental- isn't the real purpose.

Not all religions celebrate christmas. An advent calendar is a countdown to this. Overall I think a general selection of sweet goods, biscuits etc is fine. We try to include non Christmas packaging and christmas packaging 50/50 when we donate, for this reason.

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AdoraBell · 22/11/2019 23:04

I plan to do this tomorrow.

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BlueEyedFloozy · 22/11/2019 23:06

This is what is have asked for in the reverse advent :)

To tell you about a nice idea that’s easy to do? (Food bank related)
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childrenandhomeless · 22/11/2019 23:08

This has brought tears to my eyes.

Anyone whos not been through this can have no idea what an impact it has receiving kind donations at Christmas, especially where thoughtful things like luxuries have been included, over and above the basic tins.

To get a bottle of bubble bath!! Or nail varnish!! But yes, to have a slab of Christmas cake, pud, etc.

Bloody awesome that pp here are thinking of others this way.

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Inebriati · 22/11/2019 23:08

I was so pleased to see our local bank has said they won't need any more sanitary products til next year.
Fleece hats are popular at ours, and they are pretty easy to make. If you knit or crochet hats or make them from old sweaters, make sure you line them with fleece.

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LyingWitchInTheWardrobe2726 · 22/11/2019 23:08

It is a lovely idea OP but, from reading a thread earlier this week, not necessarily a good one. The food banks know their customer-base better than we do so it would be a good move to check with them what they actually want.

The example given in the previous thread was people who are homeless and on the streets.. what are they going to do with a chocolate advent calendar? It's very sad.

Better to check first because it's not about what makes the giver feel good but what's really and realistically needed.

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Slappadabass · 22/11/2019 23:08

Great idea.


My eldest loves going to the shop and filling up a basket for the food bank, our local Asda have a drop off point which is so easy. We will pop in some advent calendars and selections boxes soon.


Another thing we often add are sanitary towels, razors and toothbrushes/tooth paste and shower gel/shampoo, rather than just food, Just the little things that help people feel at their best.

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childrenandhomeless · 22/11/2019 23:11

I know it sounds odd, but the food is essential sustenance obviously, the luxuries are psychological and emotional nourishment 💕

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70isaLimitNotaTarget · 22/11/2019 23:16

I also add cat food (because I have cats)
But there's dog food and small furries (hamsters, guinea-pigs, rabbits )

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autumnnightsaredrawingin · 22/11/2019 23:19

Thank you to everyone for also pointing out the negatives of giving an advent calendar. Also for reminding everyone to check with food banks for what they need and also not to forget essentials. All really important points.

I just posted based on what my friend said, she hands out boxes to families with young kids who are struggling financially and need to use a food bank and wouldn’t have the budget to buy their kids a calendar. They’re not homeless, but for those kids having a little treat each day would be really appreciated.

Obviously a proper meal is better nutritionally than a treat like chocolate or Christmas cake. But it’s more complicated than that and I Hope including some treats (on top of essentials and nutritious food) would be a good thing.... but yes do check with the local food bank what is appropriate.

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Boulshired · 22/11/2019 23:19

As someone who also volunteers if you can then please give money instead. We actually get too many chocolates and November and December people are very generous with treats but we lose out on the basics, when demand is at its highest.

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childrenandhomeless · 22/11/2019 23:21

Did you read my post OP.

It really does make a difference to children (and adults!)

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Inebriati · 22/11/2019 23:21

Great thread, OP.
There are some places where if you buy online, you can include a donation to the local food bank or DV shelter so don't forget to check that out when you do your online shop.

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childrenandhomeless · 22/11/2019 23:22

Flowers volunteers

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autumnnightsaredrawingin · 22/11/2019 23:22

Childrenandhomeless- I did. I’m glad it does make a difference 💗.

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StroppyWoman · 22/11/2019 23:30

One thing I'd add is that food bank donations are frequently from a tiny range of items.

When in doubt, don't buy baked beans. You wouldn't believe the proportions of donations that are baked beans. TInned veg, tinned fruit, warming and filling puddings, fruit juice, and DECENT tea and coffee. Bloody lovely biscuits. Mostly practical stuff plus a bit of something luxurious to help people feel like PEOPLE and not charity cases.

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june2007 · 22/11/2019 23:30

Dragon girl, ofcourse they still want moey and all the usual but selection boxes is something specific to Christmas, particularly for some who may get nothing.

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ReanimatedSGB · 22/11/2019 23:34

When I've got the cash spare to donate I tend to try and give a mix of basic food, a treat or two and something like shower gel or toothpaste or sanpro.

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HeIenaDove · 22/11/2019 23:39

"This is because an advent calendar is counting down to a day which for most includes gifts and plenty of food and family - not all households can do this. It's basically building excitement up for nothing. It's a horrible sentiment but sadly I can see why it should be avoided in some cases"

@BlueEyedFloozy I totally agree In fact i said the same on the Britains Hidden Hunger thread. It could unintentionally rub salt in the wound

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Quietintheranks · 22/11/2019 23:42

Does anyone else feel deeply uncomfortable with the whole notion of food banks in a well off 1st world country? Aren’t we really enabling an unfair and inadequate welfare system and also poor working conditions and workers rights?

I do put things in when I shop, but I think it’s got out of hand. I mean for the love of god what would happen if people stopped donating? We have picked up the governments slack on providing for the very needy in society and now it has become entrenched in the welfare system so that vouchers are given out by government agencies to poor people, who are only as poor as they are because of austerity measures. It’s just another unfair and dehumanising tax. What if we didn’t pay it? Bloody hate the greed that has led to such an unbalanced society.

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dontalltalkatonce · 22/11/2019 23:47

Better yet, give all year, not just as Xmas.

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BlueEyedFloozy · 22/11/2019 23:49

@Quietintheranks I don't think any one is happy about the need for Food Banks in a supposedly wealthy and civilised country but at this point in time the only other option for many people is starvation.

I donate when I can because I don't know what's round the corner for us - we both work, have a relatively low income and a small amount of savings - we are the fortunate ones.

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HeIenaDove · 22/11/2019 23:58

@Quietintheranks I hate HATE the fact that they are needed. But it IS going to get worse You will see more older people turning to food banks due to the Pension Credit change/cut.

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childrenandhomeless · 22/11/2019 23:59

This is how refuges stock aswell, feom donations.

You have nothing when you turn up homeless.

You are given enough to last a few days, and I was surprised to find bubble bath!

Obviously those who manage the contributions know what levels of stock they have and need.

The govt haven't done this so what would happen?

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